Reviewed by Helyce
Cade Wilson was on his way to becoming a lawyer. Intelligent, confident and handsome to boot, his plans come to a screeching halt when he crashes his car in a street race he entered in order to help his father out of a sticky financial situation. While his injuries will heal, he’s left with a stutter that he cannot seem to shake. The more agitated he gets, the worse the stutter. So, he just stops talking.
Tasha Montgomery can easily be mistaken as a shallow, rich, “daddy’s girl”. And while she can pull that off if she needs to, at heart, she is really a down to earth, kind and loyal woman. She’s there when Cade has his accident, and when all his “friends” hear the emergency sirens, they are the first to leave the scene of the illegal street race, but she sticks around. Hers is the first face Cade sees when he wakes up and after he’s sent home, she’s there, even when Cade makes it clear he doesn’t want her around.
But when Cade scares off each and every physical therapist his dad hires, it’s Tasha who attempts to draw Cade out and bring him back. Tasha is still a student, but she’s willing to work with Cade and she takes it as a personal challenge to succeed.
We met Cade and Tasha in Fighting for Devlin, book 1 in this series. Tasha is best friends with the heroine, Rena and Cade and Tasha have a run in at a college party when Cade basically makes a fool of himself with some pretty creepy pick up lines. Book one ends after Cade’s accident since the issues within book one have a lot to do with why Cade decides to run the race in the first place.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of Tasha. When you get inside her mind, you know she has the hots for Cade, even after his ridiculous attempt to hook up with her at a frat party. It’s not that she feels sorry for him. She just saw something in him and decided that she could help and once she set her sights on it, she would not give up. Watching her attempt to draw Cade out was equal parts frustrating and humorous. Especially being in Tasha’s head as she struggled with her emotions and her growing attraction to Cade.
As much as Cade initially came off as an ungrateful ass, you can’t help but feel for him and his predicament. Intelligent and doing really well in college before the accident, his dreams of being a trial lawyer are over. Who could possibly take a lawyer who stutters his way through an interrogation and closing arguments seriously? No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to get his brain to work with his mouth and while he refuses to acknowledge or give Tasha even a hint that he appreciates her and what she’s attempting to do, he looks forward to her visits.
Things change when Tasha does some research and starts to think that Cade’s issue is not so much part of his brain injury, but with something completely unrelated. She checks her theory out with a mentor and orders some research books to read about the subject. Her attempts to impart her newfound knowledge to Cade endear her even more to the reader. Cade as well begins to pay attention when he makes the connection and realizes that what she’s trying to do is working.
Watching these two come together through all their individual discoveries, both about themselves and each other just made me feel really good. Tasha is so much more than what you see on the outside and I really loved discovering all her different facets. She’s smart and strong and I especially liked how she stood up to anyone who tried to curtail her from her goal. Her single minded focus where Cade is concerned proved this.
I enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t a lot of unnecessary conflict situations inflicted on the reader. Tasha’s father is against her spending so much time with Cade, but his reasons for this really have nothing to do with Cade himself, and more to do with his own personal problems and prior dealings with Cade’s father. He tries to impose his misgivings on Tasha and in an attempt to keep her from Cade by taking away her car and threatening to stop paying for college. Her response is to willingly give up her car and go against his wishes and continue to help Cade. But even after these two find their way past speech therapy and begin to see something more in each other, Cade continues to second guess himself and Tasha, resulting in them parting ways due to a silly misunderstanding. But fear not, Cade redeems himself from his asshole-ness and we get that HEA.
While this certainly can be read as a stand alone, if you read book one first you’ll be able to appreciate and understand more of the family dynamic on Cade’s side. The why of his decision to run the street race has more significance if you have the details given in book one and there is a more lengthy explanation into Cade’s relationship to Devlin, the hero from book one. That said, Shut Up and Kiss Me is thoroughly enjoyable on it’s own as it’s focus is truly on Cade and Tasha’s relationship as we see these two find their way.
I found Jessica Lemmon last year and have really enjoyed everything that I’ve read by her so far. With good pacing and interesting characters, her stories balance all the elements I look for in a romance, pushing all my happy buttons. I highly recommend!